Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War
Peace agreements may be signed, and hostilities may cease, but landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) are an enduring legacy of conflict.
Antipersonnel mines are munitions designed to explode from the presence, proximity, or contact of a person. Antivehicle mines are munitions designed to explode from the presence, proximity, or contact of a vehicle as opposed to a person. Landmines are victim-activated and indiscriminate; whoever triggers the mine, whether a child or a soldier, becomes its victim. Mines emplaced during a conflict against enemy forces can still kill or injure civilians decades later.
Cluster munitions consist of containers and submunitions. Launched from the ground or the air, the containers open and disperse submunitions over a wide area, putting civilians at risk both during attacks due to their wide area effect and after attacks due to unexploded ordnance.
ERW refer to ordnance left behind after a conflict. Explosive weapons that for some reason fail to detonate as intended become unexploded ordnance (UXO). These unstable explosive devices are left behind during and after conflicts and pose dangers similar to landmines. Abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO) is explosive ordnance that has not been used during armed conflict but has been left behind and is no longer effectively controlled. ERW can include artillery shells, grenades, mortars, rockets, air-dropped bombs, and cluster munition remnants. Under the international legal definition, ERW consist of UXO and AXO, but not mines.
Both landmines and ERW pose a serious and ongoing threat to civilians. These weapons can be found on roads, footpaths, farmers’ fields, forests, deserts, along borders, in and surrounding houses and schools, and in other places where people are carrying out their daily activities. They deny access to food, water, and other basic needs, and inhibit freedom of movement. They prevent the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people, and hamper the delivery of humanitarian aid.
These weapons instill fear in communities, whose citizens often know they are walking in mined areas, but have no possibility to farm other land, or take another route to school. When land cannot be cultivated, when medical systems are drained by the cost of attending to landmine/ERW casualties, and when countries must spend money clearing mines rather than paying for education, it is clear that these weapons not only cause appalling human suffering, they are also a lethal barrier to development and post-conflict reconstruction.
There are solutions to the global landmine and ERW problem. The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty provides the best framework for governments to alleviate the suffering of civilians living in areas affected by antipersonnel mines. Governments who join this treaty must stop the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of antipersonnel mines immediately. They must destroy all stockpiled antipersonnel mines within four years, and clear all antipersonnel landmines in all mined areas under their jurisdiction or control within 10 years. In addition, States Parties in a position to do so must provide assistance for the care and treatment of landmine survivors, their families and communities, and support for mine/ERW risk education programs to help prevent mine incidents.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions was opened for signature on 3 December 2008 and is a legally-binding agreement prohibiting cluster munitions because of their indiscriminate area effects and risk of unexploded ordnance. The treaty also provides a framework for tackling the problems that cluster munitions have caused. For an overview of government policies and practices on cluster munitions see www.lm.icbl.org/cm/2009. The treaty obliges states to stop the use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions immediately. States must destroy all stockpiled cluster munitions within eight years of becoming party to the treaty, and clear all unexploded cluster munition remnants in areas under their jurisdiction or control within 10 years. Building on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention on Cluster Munitions includes ground-breaking provisions for victim assistance, and includes those killed or injured by cluster munitions, their families and communities in the definition of a cluster munition victim. In addition, States Parties in a position to do so must provide assistance for the clearance of cluster munition remnant, risk education programs to help prevent cluster munition casualties, and for the assistance of victims.
The only international legislation explicitly covering ERW in general is Protocol V of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). While its provisions have been recognized as insufficient to address the problems caused by cluster munitions, Protocol V does establish general responsibilities for ERW clearance, information sharing to facilitate clearance and risk education, victim assistance, and for support to mine action. Protocol V establishes a special responsibility on the users of explosive weapons to work to address the post-conflict humanitarian problems that these weapons may cause.
These legal instruments provide a framework for taking action, but it is up to governments to implement treaty obligations, and it is the task of NGOs to work together with governments to ensure they uphold their treaty obligations.
The ultimate goal of the ICBL and the CMC is a world free of landmines, cluster munitions and ERW, where civilians can walk freely without the fear of stepping on a mine, and where children can play without mistaking an unexploded submunition for a toy.
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
The ICBL is a coalition of more than 1,000 organizations in over 70 countries, working locally, nationally, and internationally to eradicate antipersonnel mines. It received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with its founding coordinator Jody Williams, in recognition of its efforts to bring about the Mine Ban Treaty.
The campaign is a loose, flexible network, whose members share the common goal of working to eliminate antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.
The ICBL was launched in October 1992 by a group of six NGOs: Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Medico International, Mines Advisory Group, Physicians for Human Rights, and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. These founding organizations witnessed the horrendous effects of mines on the communities they were working with in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, and saw how mines hampered and even prevented their development efforts in these countries. They realized that a comprehensive solution was needed to address the crisis caused by landmines, and that the solution was a complete ban on antipersonnel landmines.
The founding organizations brought to the international campaign practical experience of the impact of landmines. They also brought the perspective of the different sectors they represented: human rights, children’s rights, development issues, refugee issues, and medical and humanitarian relief. ICBL member campaigns contacted other NGOs, who spread the word through their networks; news of this new coalition and the need for a treaty banning antipersonnel landmines soon stretched throughout the world. The ICBL organized conferences and campaigning events in many countries to raise awareness of the landmine problem and the need for a ban, and to provide training to new campaigners to enable them to be effective advocates in their respective countries.
Campaign members worked at the local, national, regional and global level to encourage their governments to support the mine ban. The ICBL’s membership grew rapidly, and today there are campaigns in more than 70 countries.
The Mine Ban Treaty was opened for signature on 3 December 1997 in Ottawa, Canada. It is in part due to sustained and coordinated action by the ICBL that the Mine Ban Treaty became a reality.
Part of the ICBL’s success is its ability to evolve with changing circumstances. The early days of the campaign were focused on developing a comprehensive treaty banning antipersonnel landmines. Once this goal was achieved, attention shifted to ensuring that all countries join the treaty, and that all States Parties fully implement their treaty obligations.
The ICBL works to promote the global norm against mine use, and advocates for countries who have not joined the treaty to take steps to join the treaty. The campaign also urges non-state armed groups to abide by the spirit of the treaty.
Much of the ICBL’s work is focused on promoting implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, which provides the most effective framework for eliminating antipersonnel landmines. This includes working in partnership with governments and international organizations on all aspects of treaty implementation, from stockpile destruction to mine clearance to victim assistance.
In 2007, the ICBL began actively campaigning in support of the Oslo Process to negotiate a treaty prohibiting cluster munitions. This marked the first time that the ICBL engaged substantively on an issue other than antipersonnel mines. The ICBL began working with other CMC member organizations to address the cluster munition threat at the beginning of the Convention on Cluster Munitions negotiation process. The goal was to help prevent another humanitarian crisis similar to the global mine problem, because cluster munitions leave behind unexploded submunitions with effects similar to antipersonnel mines. The ICBL is dedicated to working toward the full universalization and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and many ICBL member organizations are also actively campaigning against cluster munitions.
The ICBL is committed to pushing for the complete eradication of antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions. The campaign has been successful in part because it has a clear campaign message and goal; a non-bureaucratic campaign structure and flexible strategy; and an effective partnership with other NGOs, international organizations, and governments.
Cluster Munition Coalition
The CMC is an international coalition working to protect civilians from the effects of cluster munitions by promoting universal adherence to and full implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The CMC has a membership of around 300 civil society organizations from more than 80 countries, and includes organizations working on disarmament, peace and security, human rights, victim assistance, clearance, women’s rights, and faith issues. The CMC facilitates the efforts of NGOs worldwide to educate governments, the public and the media about the global cluster munition problem and its solutions.
Like the ICBL, the CMC was established by a group of NGOs in response to a global problem, in this case the suffering caused by cluster munitions. From 2003 to 2006 the CMC called for negotiations towards new international law to address the cluster munition problem. Throughout 2007 and 2008 the CMC actively participated in the diplomatic Oslo Process facilitating and leading the global civil society action in favor of a ban on cluster munitions. This effort resulted in the adoption and signature of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008 and has been recognized as a largely preventive effort, given that only a tiny fraction of the cluster munitions in global stockpiles have ever been used.
In 2009, the CMC’s priority was to conclude an intensive global ratification campaign to ensure that 30 countries ratify the convention without delay in order to bring the convention into force and begin the formal process of implementation. The CMC will also continue to campaign in countries that have not yet signed the convention to encourage them to sign the treaty as soon as possible at the UN in New York. Beyond this the CMC is preparing for the First Meeting of States Parties to the convention and working with states to ensure their early and effective implementation of the convention’s obligations.
Landmine Monitor Report 2009 is the eleventh annual Landmine Monitor report. Since 1999, each of the ten previous reports has been presented to the respective annual meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. Landmine Monitor is the ICBL’s research and monitoring program program and it provides research and monitoring for the CMC. It is the de facto monitoring regime for the Mine Ban Treaty, a role it plans to undertake for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It monitors and reports on States Parties’ implementation of, and compliance with, the Mine Ban Treaty, and more generally, it assesses the international community’s response to the humanitarian problem caused by landmines and ERW. Landmine Monitor represents the first time that NGOs have come together in a coordinated, systematic, and sustained way to monitor a humanitarian law or disarmament treaty, and to regularly document progress and problems, thereby successfully putting into practice the concept of civil society-based verification.
In June 1998, the ICBL formally agreed to create Landmine Monitor as an ICBL initiative. In 2008, Landmine Monitor also functionally became the research and monitoring arm of the CMC. A five-member Editorial Board coordinates the Landmine Monitor system: Mines Action Canada, Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Landmine Action, and Norwegian People’s Aid. Mines Action Canada serves as the lead agency. The Editorial Board assumes overall responsibility for, and decision-making on, the Landmine Monitor system.
Landmine Monitor is not a technical verification system or a formal inspection regime. It is an attempt by civil society to hold governments accountable to the obligations they have taken on with respect to antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions. This is done through extensive collection, analysis, and distribution of publicly available information. Although in some cases it does entail investigative missions, Landmine Monitor is not designed to send researchers into harm’s way and does not include hot war-zone reporting.
The Landmine Monitor report is designed to complement the States Parties’ transparency reporting required under Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty. It reflects the shared view that transparency, trust and mutual collaboration are crucial elements for the successful eradication of antipersonnel mines. Landmine Monitor was also established in recognition of the need for independent reporting and evaluation.
Landmine Monitor aims to promote and advance discussion on mine and ERW-related issues, and to seek clarifications, to help reach the goal of a world free of mines, cluster munitions, and other ERW. Landmine Monitor works in good faith to provide factual information about issues it is monitoring, in order to benefit the international community as a whole.
The Landmine Monitor system features a global reporting network and an annual report. A network of 60 Landmine Monitor researchers from 45 countries and other areas, and a 20-person Editorial Team gathered information to prepare this report. The researchers come from the ICBL’s campaigning coalition and from other elements of civil society, including journalists, academics, and research institutions.
Landmine Monitor Report 2009 presents information on activities in 2008 and key developments in January–May 2009. A special ten-year review assesses progress in implementing and universalizing the Mine Ban Treaty since its entry into force on 1 March 2009. Reports cover every country in the world and eight other areas not internationally recognized as states, and include information on ban policy (policy, use, production, trade, stockpiling), mine action, casualties, risk education, victim assistance, and support for mine action. All report contents are available online at www.lm.icbl.org/lm/2009.
Unless otherwise specified all translations were done by Landmine Monitor.
As was the case in previous years, Landmine Monitor acknowledges that this ambitious report is limited by the time, resources, and information sources available. Landmine Monitor is a system that is continuously updated, corrected, and improved. Comments, clarifications, and corrections from governments and others are sought, in the spirit of dialogue, and in the common search for accurate and reliable information on an important subject.
A broad-based network of individuals, campaigns, and organizations produced this eleventh annual Landmine Monitor report. It was assembled by a dedicated team of research coordinators and editors, with the support of a significant number of donors.
This report contains country and area updates researched by 60 Landmine Monitor researchers from 45 countries and other areas, selected by the Landmine Monitor Editorial Board with input from the Editorial Team. The researchers are cited separately in the List of Contributors. Landmine Monitor is grateful to everyone who contributed research to this report. We wish to thank the scores of individuals, campaigns, NGOs, international organizations, mine action practitioners, and governments who provided us with essential information.
We are grateful to ICBL staff for their continued and crucial assistance in the release, distribution, and promotion of Landmine Monitor reports.
Responsibility for the coordination of Landmine Monitor’s reporting network lies with the five Editorial Board organizations: Mines Action Canada (Paul Hannon) manages Landmine Monitor’s production and editing, and coordinates research on support for mine action and non-state armed groups; Handicap International (Stan Brabant) coordinates research on mine/ERW risk education, casualty data, and victim assistance; Human Rights Watch (Stephen Goose) is responsible for ban policy; Landmine Action (Richard Moyes) specializes in research on cluster munitions; and Norwegian People’s Aid (Stuart Casey-Maslen and Atle Karlsen) coordinates research on mine action. Jacqueline Hansen manages Landmine Monitor.
The Editorial Team undertook research and initial country report edits for Landmine Monitor Report 2009 from March to August 2009. The Editorial Team was led by five principal editors: Stephen Goose (ban policy), Stuart Casey-Maslen (mine action), Katleen Maes (casualties and victim assistance), Jenny Najar (risk education), and Anthony Forrest (support for mine action).
Stuart Casey-Maslen, Nick Cumming-Bruce, and Mark Hiznay provided final editing from July to August 2009 with assistance from Jacqueline Hansen (Program Manager); Jack Glattbach (Copy Editor); Maureen Hollingworth (Editing Consultant); Katie Pitts and Tatiana Stephens (Project Officers); Kerri West and Katherine Harrison (Ban policy team); and Carly Ackerman, Zain Esseghaier, Zachary Fellman, and Marc Gagnier (Mines Action Canada Interns).
Report formatting and the online version of the report at www.lm.icbl.org/lm/2009 were undertaken by Lixar I.T. Inc. and St. Joseph Communications printed the report. Rafael Jiménez provided design. Sébastien Grolet provided cartography services.
We extend our gratitude to Landmine Monitor contributors. Landmine Monitor’s supporters are in no way responsible for, and do not necessarily endorse, the material contained in this report. It was only possible to carry out this work with the aid of grants from:
- Government of Australia
- Government of Austria
- Government of Belgium
- Government of Canada
- Government of Cyprus
- Government of France
- Government of Germany
- Government of Ireland
- Government of Luxembourg
- Government of the Netherlands
- Government of New Zealand
- Government of Norway
- Government of Spain
- Government of Sweden
- Government of Switzerland
- European Commission
- Holy See
We also thank the donors who have contributed to the individual members of the Landmine Monitor Editorial Board and other participating organizations.
List of Contributors
Thematic research teams contributed to the researching, writing, and editing of all country reports.
- Coordinator: Stephen Goose, Human Rights Watch
- Human Rights Watch: Mark Hiznay, Mary Wareham, Kerri West
- ICBL: Anders Fink
- Landmine Action: Katherine Harrison
- Mines Action Canada: Anthony Forrest, Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan
- Coordinator: Stuart Casey-Maslen, Norwegian People’s Aid
- ICBL: Emil Hasanov, Mike Kendellen
- Norwegian People’s Aid: Nick Cumming-Bruce
Casualties, Risk Education, and Victim Assistance
- Coordinator: Katleen Maes, Handicap International
- Handicap International: Matthew Bolton, Megan Burke, Kerryn Clarke, Hugh Hosman, Melissa Lombardo, Jenny Najar, Loren Persi, Patrizia Pompili
Editing and Production
- Program Manager: Jacqueline Hansen, Mines Action Canada
- Final Editors: Stuart Casey-Maslen, Nick Cumming-Bruce, and Mark Hiznay, Mines Action Canada
- Copy Editor: Jack Glattbach, Mines Action Canada
- Editing Consultant: Maureen Hollingworth
- Project Officers: Katie Pitts and Tatiana Stephens, Mines Action Canada
- Interns: Carly Ackerman, Zain Esseghaier, Zachary Fellman, and Marc Gagnier, Mines Action Canada
- Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique: Anna Kudarewska
- Burundi, Chad, DRC, Republic of Congo, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal: Anne Capelle
- Côte d’Ivoire, Mali: Amadou Moussa Maiga, Réseau des Journalistes pour la Sécurité et le Développement de l’Afrique de l’Ouest
- Ethiopia: Ambachew Negus, Rehabilitation and Development Organization
- Kenya, Somalia, Somaliland: Robert Bunbury
- Senegal: Sarany Diatta and Mamady Gassama, Association sénégalaise des victimes de mines
- Sudan: Suzana Srnic Vukovic
- Uganda: Geoffrey Muhindo, Uganda Landmine Survivors Association
- Zambia: Robert Mtonga, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War-Zambia
- Argentina, Falkland Islands/Malvinas: Maria Pia Devoto, Asociación para Políticas Públicas
- Colombia: Camilo Serna Villegas, Campaña Colombiana contra Minas
- Nicaragua: Megan Burke
- Peru: Gisela Luján Andrade and Carlos Luján Andrade
- United States: Mark Hiznay and Mike Kendellen
- Venezuela: Antonio González Plessmann
- Afghanistan: Sulaiman Aminy, Afghan Landmine Survivors’ Organization
- Bangladesh: Rafique Al-Islam, Nonviolence International Bangladesh
- Bhutan: Binalakshmi Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India
- Cambodia: Denise Coghlan and Ny Nhar, Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines
- India: Medha Bisht, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses and Binalakshmi Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India
- Indonesia and Singapore: Els Coolen and Lars Stenger, Indonesian Campaign to Ban Landmines/JRS Indonesia
- Korea, RO: John H. Kim
- Lao PDR: Kerryn Clarke
- Mongolia: Burmaa Radnaa and Danya Sterling, Women for Social Progress
- Myanmar/Burma: Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Mines Action Canada, and Alfredo Lubang, Nonviolence International Southeast Asia
- Nepal: Purna Shova Chitrakar, Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal and Prashannata Wasti, Informal Sector Service Centre
- Pacific (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu): Mary Wareham
- Pakistan: Naveed Ahmad Shinwari, Community Appraisal and Motivation Program and Raza Shah Khan, Sustainable Peace and Development Organization
- Philippines: Paz Verdades M. Santos, Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines
- Sri Lanka: Prasanna Rajiv Kuruppu
- Taiwan: Lotus Chen, Eden Social Welfare Foundation
- Thailand: Shushira Chonhenchob, Wasita Kitpreecha, Jaruwan Tiwasiri, and
Commonwealth of Independent States
- Abkhazia: Elena Kuvichko
- Azerbaijan: Hafiz Safikhanov, Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines
- Belarus: Iouri Zagoumennov, SCAF/Belarus Campaign to Ban Landmines
- Georgia: Narine Berikashvili, Disarmament and Nonviolence
- Kyrgyzstan: Kanykey Brimkulova, IPPNW-Kyrgyz Committee
- Moldova: Iurie Pintea, Institute for Public Policy
- Russian Federation: Roman Dolgov, IPPNW/Russian Campaign to Ban Landmines and Zarema Sadulaeva, Let’s Save the Generation
- Tajikistan: Aziza Hakimova, Harmony of the World
- Ukraine: Olexii Kocherev
- Albania: Anila Alibali and Ruben Hajnaj, Illyricum Fund and Suzana Srnic Vukovic
- Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia: Suzana Srnic Vukovic
- Cyprus and Greece: Louisa O’Brien
- Finland: Eeva Suhonen, Peace Union of Finland
- Latvia: Igors Tipans, Baltic International Centre of Education, Cooperation for Peace
- Poland: Jakub Budohoski and Marta Kulikowska, Polish Red Cross
- Turkey: Muteber Öğreten, Initiative for a Mine-Free Turkey
Middle East and North Africa
- Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates: Ayman Sorour, Protection
- Israel: Yiftach Millo
- Kuwait: Dr. Raafat Misak, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, and Dr. Abdallah Al Ghunaim and Dr. Said Mahfouz, Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait
- Yemen: Aisha Saeed, Yemen Mine Awareness Association
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